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    The Fall Risk Rocks The Bay Area...

    In the Bay Area there is no shortage of live music. In fact you can hear a different band playing in a different venue every night of the week, and still wished you’d heard a few more. In the past year, I’ve gotten to know a new up-and-coming folk-rock-blues jam band, The Fall Risk. I’ve now see them perform at multiple local venues including, Sweetwater Music Hall, Terrapin Crossroads, Slims and Brick & Mortar.

    Jeff Pehrson, The Fall Risk front-man is no newbie to live performances. He garnered west coast love and a loyal following as part of Box Set. Jeff’s song writing and performing prowess have helped this eight member band become a growing presence in the Bay Area club scene. Jeff fronts the band with a big warm smile and his acoustic guitar dominance. He’s the only one in the group who pursues music as a full-time occupation; although you’d never know it by the professional level of their performances. In the past year, I’ve seen this band become tighter and more fluent in their orchestration. They’re taking this very seriously!!

    The third or fourth time I saw The Fall Risk perform was at Bob Weir’s Sweetwater Music Hall with a guest appearance by Stu Allen. A few weeks later I was eager to see what would happen when they played at the hallowed venue, Phil Lesh’s Terrapin Crossroads. The history of the venue itself leaves some big shoes to fill. And The Fall Risk, with a guest appearance by Phil, played to the packed-house one rousing jam after another. They knew exactly where they were playing, rose to the occasion and brought the crowd along with them for the ride. This was my kind of loud, raucous, rock and roll!

    While Jeff is the best known musician on the stage, he’s hardly there alone. Philip Savell is a maniac as one of two lead guitar players, and evokes a look and sound of a seasoned rocker. I’m sure Phil’s preferred form of a cardio workout is to be playing guitar on-stage for two hours. He doesn’t hold anything back – nothing! Rich Goldstein on the other side of the stage is a master with the slide and equally makes his presence known, but in a more reserved manner. Matt Twain supports Jeff on the vocals and is a masterful keyboard player. I’ve heard Sammy Johnston rip it up on the pedal steel guitar and then completely surprise the crowd by hauling an accordion around the stage whining out a fantastic version of The Who’s Squeeze Box. If you knew nothing about this band, you’d quickly figure out this is a group of musicians with a connection. In fact, several of the members were musician-friends from their college days.

    During a time when there seems to be a nostalgic re-interest in 80’s music (gag), The Fall Risk offers something lighter and more soulful. While Cross My Heart and If Love Is the Answer are sweet love songs, there’s every chance you’ll hear a roaring guitar jam during these tunes. The band is having such a good time, you can’t help doing the same. Dancing is a must!

    Each show has had two solid 8-10 song sets and I’ve left each time wanting a few more songs. Jeff easily brings his warm personality to the stage. It’s no secret he’s one of the vocalists for Furthur and shows his quiet gratitude for that opportunity by telling the crowd, “my bosses wrote this one,” before they break into a Grateful Dead tune. Otherwise, their repertoire is mostly original songs sprinkled with a few well-known covers.


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